In a shootout that happened in 2015 in the parking lot of a restaurant in Waco, Texas, 20 people were injured, and nine people were killed. The police arrested every biker they found on the spot, a total of 177 bikers. A grand jury indicated 155 of the arrested bikers on charges of organized crime.
But no one will be held accountable for the gunfight, McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Barry Johnson officially announced Tuesday. According to him, the reason he dropped all charges is that his predecessor had failed to determine the charges in which “the admissible evidence would support a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“I do not believe that it is a proper exercise of my judgment as District Attorney to proceed with the further prosecution of what I believe to have been an ill-conceived path that this District Attorney’s Office was set upon almost four years ago by the prior District Attorney, and I do not believe that path should continue to be pursued,” Johnson said in a statement.
He said for the Waco Tribune-Herald that his office was dropping the charges to end a nightmare they have been dealing with in the county since May 2015.
All indictments, except 24 of them were dropped before Johnson took office on the 1st of January. The remaining 24 bikers were indicted on charges of riot. However, the statute of limitation had already expired on the majority of the cases by then, and Johnson was concerned any conviction would be easily overturned on appeal because the charges may not hold up.
The only case that was ever tried by prosecutors is that of Jacob Carrizal, who is head of the Bandidos chapter. His case ended in mistrial which indicated the difficulty prosecutors would most likely face in any subsequent trial connected to the shootout.
A judge had put all the remaining cases on hold until Johnson was elected so that he could carefully review them. However, in his statement, Johnson said he didn’t want to waste taxpayer’s money on trials that are most certainly to fail. As of May 2018, the Texas county had spent $1.2 million on expenses related to the infamous shootout.
Over 130 bikers have filled civil rights lawsuits against the county authorities and the city of Waco, and many of them allege false arrest. Many of the 177 arrested bikers had to spend weeks in jail on $1 million bonds.